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Twice Nirvana: Lumix X Vario 35-100mm F2.8 Review

GH2 with X 35-100mm
GH2 with X 35-100mm

GH2 with X 35-100mm

Yes, there is nirvana, twice.  If you have following my site you would know that I have been very excited about two new lenses from Panasonic.  The other one of them has been introduced and it is just now becoming available in the US.  I had already purchased the the first one, the Panasonic Lumix X Vario 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH Power O.I.S.  it has lived on my GH2 ever since.  After seeing the new lens at the Kenmore Camera show last month, I waited to till it was available.  Then out came my debit card and over a thousand and a half dollars later, I ordered it.  Two days later it arrived but I was traveling for Thanksgiving so I had to wait till I got home!  I am not disappointed!  I have the brand spanking new wonder lens: the Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm F2.8 ASPH Power O.I.S.  It has not been left off of my other GH2. That is one of the advantages of having two GH2's.


The New View

121126-150649-022This is the most expensive lens I have bought including when I had Canon L lenses and my Lumix G X 12-35mm f2.8.  I did not buy the Canon L EF 70-200 f2.8 because it was too expensive, large and heavy.  I bought the Canon L EF 70-200 f4 IS because it was very sharp, smaller and lighter.  It was used on my Canon 60D a lot.  A truly wonderful lens.  Like both of the Canon's, this lens has weather sealing and is made to a higher standard than their regular lenses.  Panasonic choose to brand this lens as well with their upscale X designation.  Unlike the Canons, this lens is much smaller and lighter.   It will become one of the lenses that I always carry with me.

121126-152014-046The Interview

This lens is the ideal interview lens for MicroFourThirds.  The 12-35mm is a little short for interviews because the camera has to be closer than some people are comfortable. Being a video guy who likes to take stills, this lens fills a big gap for me.  I have wanted a F2.8, O.I.S. tele lens for shooting video.  O.I.S. really combats the shakes and helps eliminate rolling shutter.  Being a zoom is a plus, or should I say variable prime.

Boy This Is Small

What we have here is a small, lightweight, fast, ruggedized O.I.S. telephoto zoom lens.  On the my GH2 the lens seems to belong there but at the same time it seems small for a tele zoom.  It is in diameter about the same as my Lumix 14-140 variable aperture zoom.  The weight is about the same too.  It fits nicely into my hands and the zoom does not extend when it is zoomed to 100mm with that magical F2.8 aperture.  The main barrel seems like metal.  The zoom feels very smooth.  Smooth enough to shoot during movies.  The lens's balance is very good.

121126-152639-058Did I Say Sharp

What can we say, this lens is very sharp.  Sharp in the center and sharp in the corners.  There is very little chromatic aberration in the corners of the lens.  Also there is the ability to separate your subject from the background because of the fast F2.8 aperture.  On the tele end this is very easy.

Fast Focus

Autofocus is fast and silent on all my cameras.  The manual focus ring feels like metal and is very responsive in manual mode.  It takes some turning to change focus so I feel rack focusing while be easy.  It is not fast like the cheaper lenses.  Also if you zoom in and focus the lens seems to keep the focus as you zoom out.

One Stable Lens

With the GH2 I leave the O.I.S. on as this one of the reasons I bought the lens.  It is Panasonic's new Power O.I.S. which is very effective while hand holding the camera.  I like that Panasonic has put the O.I.S. switch on the barrel of the lens as I turn it on and off quite often.  I turn it off on the EM-5 as that camera has internal image stabilization which is quit effective.  They fight each other if both are turned on and it is easier to turn off the lens than going into the menus and turning off the camera's.  The O.I.S. is needed more on this lens than it's shorter sibling.

121126-153640-072Light Clicks

There is a clicking sound from the aperture even at the full F2.8 on the GH2 when not shooting movies but it goes away when shooting.  What a relief.  On the EM-5 there very little sound from the aperture.  On my 14-140 the aperture changes while zooming and the video see variances of light as the zoom takes pace even when the lens is stopped down a aperture stop that is smaller than the smallest aperture on the telephoto side.  This is why I wanted a constant aperture lens.  If there is any change it is slight and is nothing to worry about.

Worth The Wait

I have to say it has been worth the wait.  This lens will get a lot of use by me.  Panasonic pulled out all the stops on this one as well.  Is as good as we thought it might be?  Yes!  What more could we ask for?  Some are saying the price is to high, but this is a “luxury” lens like the one from the other guys.  Their's is much bigger, heavier and expensive.  What we get for this expense is a lens that bring MicroFourThirds into the big leagues with it professionalism with a fast tele zoom.

When Panasonic showed the prototype of this lens they also showed a 12-35mm F2.8. O.I.S.  This new wonder tele zoom was introduced at Photokina this year in Germany.

I have posted stills taken with the lens on flickr.

Here is a video review of the lens actually on a camera shooting video on my GH2.

Hands On With The GH3

GH3 with 35-100
GH3 with 35-100

GH3 with 35-100

Recently I went to the Digital Photo Expo sponsored by Kenmore Camera near Seattle. There, at the Panasonic booth I saw the new Lumix GH3. The new Lumix G X 35-100mm f/2.8 lens was there also. Both the lens and the camera were recently introduced at Photokina in September and I have been wanting to see them. I am very impressed with both of these new items from Panasonic.

The GH3 is an impressive camera. It is larger than the  GH2, but not that much larger and it fits much better in my hand because of the larger grip. Now I have a place for my bottom finger. I like the new top buttons on the grip for ISO, White Balance and Exposure Compensation. Most of the controls were in a very logical place and were very easy to use.  With either the 12 – 35 or 35 – 100 lens the camera felt very well balanced and lightweight. The new menu system has a lot more options but is laid out better and I think more logical. A GH2 owner should have no problem navigating the menus.

That new swivel OLED LCD was large and bright and look very good to the eye. Like the GH2, it is very flexible in it's use. I am glad to see Panasonic stay with a winning design. I did like the new OLED view finder.  It also is bright and sharp just like the Swivel LCD on the back. I was amazed that the viewfinder's diopter correction was adjustable enough so I could actually use the viewfinder without my glasses. No other camera has been able to do that. For me, one of the downfalls of the new electronic viewfinder is that in still photography mode, the image seems a little smaller to the eye. In movie mode the image gets wider so it's about the same size as with the viewfinder on that GH2. The on screen displays in the viewfinder is more complete then the GH too. Among the new things you can display is timecode.

35-100 Shot With GH3

35-100 Shot With GH3

The camera I tried was one of the models shown at Photokina, so it was a PAL camera not an NTSC camera so it did not have 60fps or 30fps. So I tried it at 50 frames per second. While I was shooting a movie, the camera allowed me to halfway push the silver shutter button to refocus from one area to another just like on the GH2. Thank you Panasonic. I use this a lot. There are 19 steps of audio level and there are still audio meters in the viewfinder. I did not have a chance to try the headphone jack.

I was able to try my Micover I use on my GH2 to cut wind noise and it will not work on the GH3.  The stereo mics are behind the flash and the Micover does not reach. I will have to use something different.

Other than the slightly smaller view in the viewfinder, I really like using it as a still camera as well. I absolutely loved the silent mode for still shooting. It uses the electronic shutter to take pictures. No mechanical shutter sound at all and you could totally silence the camera so you could not hear me taking pictures. It was just like a video camera, no sound. I have found the camera quieter than my Olympus E-M5.

The new Lumix G X 35-100 f/2.8 Power O.I.S. is very small and light weight. The focus is fast. The zoom barrel does not move because of the internal zooming like Canon's 70-200. A very nice lens. Did I say small. I will being doing a repot on that lens when it arrives.

While at the show I was able to shoot stills and video and those will be included in my video report.  (edited with FCPX 10.0.6)

The Other Lens

Panasonic Lumix G X 35-100mm f/2.8

The new Panasonic Lumix G X 35-100mm f/2.8 lens was introduced at a pre Photokina press conference today in Cologne Germany.

Panasonic Lumix G X 35-100mm f/2.8

Panasonic Lumix G X 35-100mm f/2.8

It is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

This new lens has a constant F/2.8 aperture and completes the new professional X Lens set. It is built from the same construction as the highly regarded Panasonic Lumix X Vario 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH Power O.I.S.. See my review. Like it's 12-35mm brethren, this lens has O.I.S., is weather sealed, small and lightweight but will come in at a slightly more expensive price at $1499. The 35mm equivalent is 70 to 200 mm. It is designed for HD video recording and has internal focus so filters won't turn.  Unlike Olympus, Panasonic has provided a lens shade.  It takes the same 58mm filters that the 12-35mm does.  At 3.9 inches it is not much longer than the other lens.

Specifications for this new lens.

Model No. – H-HS35100
Lens Construction – 18 elements in 13 groups (2 ED lenses, 1 UED lens)
Nano Surface Coating – YES
Mount – Micro Four Thirds mount
Optical Image Stabilizer – YES (POWER O.I.S.)
Focal Length – f=35mm to 100mm (35mm camera equivalent 70mm to 200mm)
Aperture Type – 7 diaphragm blades / Circular aperture diaphragm
Maximum Aperture – F2.8
Minimum Aperture – F22
Closest Focusing Distance – 0.85m / 2.8ft
Maximum Magnification – Approx. 0.1x / 0.2x (35mm camera equivalent)
Diagonal Angle of View – 34°(W) – 12°(T)
Filter Size – 58mm / 2.3inch
Max.Diameter – 67.4mm / 2.7inch
Overall Length – Approx. 99.9mm / 3.9inch (from the tip of the lens to the base side of the lens mount)
Weight – Approx. 360g / 12.7oz (excluding lens cap, lens rear cap and lens hood)
Standard Accessories – Lens front cap, Lens rear cap, Lens storage bag, Lens hood

Here are some pictures from the PhotographyBlog of the new lens.

Panasonic News – GH3 and Lumix G X 35-100mm f/2.8

Lumix G X 35-100 on a GH3

Here is a Picture of the new Lumix G X 35-100 constant aperture f/2.8 lens

It is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

Panasonic Lumix G X 35-100 f/2.8

Panasonic Lumix G X 35-100 f/2.8

Here is the 35-100 on the GH3

Lumix G X 35-100 on a GH3

Lumix G X 35-100 on a GH3

Lumix 35-100mm In Use with Lens Shade

Lumix 35-100mm In Use with Lens Shade

Panasonic GH3

Panasonic Lumix GH3 Debut

Panasonic Lumix GH3 Debut

Pansonic also has posted and removed a video of the GH3 on YouTube.

It is now available for pre-order on Amazon

I guess we will have to wait til Monday to see it again.  The link worked on the 9/13/12.

 

Phillip Bloom has added a video on Vimeo he shot for Bruce Logan shot with the GH3 prototype:

https://vimeo.com/groups/gh3/videos/49420579

Here are some of the specs that have been leaked.  Some are confirmed in the video.

specs :

$1299 at one store already
– 16 Megapixel “Wide dynamic range” CMOS Sensor.
– New Venus 7 engine
– electronic shutter
– ISO 100-12.800
– 6fps
– Fastest AF of any interchangeable lens system camera.
– Video Bitrate 50Mbps (72Mbps ALL-I)
– 60/50/30p/25p in MP4, MOV and AVCHD
– 3.5 Mic in
– built-in stereo mic
– Audio out
– Pc control
– Time Code
– 1740k OLED LVF, Touch Monitor OLED 610k.
– external battery grip
– Wifi with remote control through iOS and Android Applications
– external XLR accessory
– Focus Peaking
– Interval shooting and slow motion. Slow Movie extension (40%, 50%, 80%) Fast 160/ 200 / 300%
– Magnesium alloy body. Body is bigger than the Panasonic GH2.

– Front & Back Control Wheels

Here are more pictures from the video:
GH3 16Meg Venus Engine

16Meg Sensor  Venus Engine

 

GH3 60P 50P All-I 72MBS

60P 50P All-I 72MBS

GH3 Dust  And Splash Proof  Magnesium Alloy Body

Dust And Splash Proof Magnesium Alloy Body

GH3 Front & Back

GH3 Front & Back

Front & Back Control Wheels

Front & Back Control Wheels

No Need To Resist – The Panasonic Lumix X Vario 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH.

Yes, there is nirvana.  If you have following my site you would know that I have been very excited about two new lenses from Panasonic.  One of them has been introduced and it is just now becoming available in the US.  Amazon had a dealer that discounted the lens so out came my debit card and a little over a thousand dollars later I ordered it.  Two days later it arrived!  I have a brand spanking new wonder lens: the Panasonic Lumix X Vario 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH Power O.I.S.  It has not been left off of the camera.

The New Normal

This is the most expensive lens in many many years that I have bought including when I had Canon L lenses.  I did not buy the Canon L EF 24-70 f2.8 because it did not have image stabilization (O.I.S.).   The L EF 24-105 f4 IS did so I used it a lot.  It lived on my Canon 60D.  The lens cost less than this beauty.  Like both of the Canon's, this lens has weather sealing and is made to a higher standard than their regular lenses.  Panasonic choose to brand the lens with their upscale X designation.  Unlike the Canons, this lens is much smaller and lighter.   It will become one of the lenses that I always carry with me and is left on the camera.

In another review at Admiring Light where he was loaned the lens, the reviewer really liked the lens and gave it high praise but said he likes prime lenses more so he would not buy it.  I bought it.  Being a video guy who likes to take stills, this lens fills a big gap for me.  I have wanted a F2.8, O.I.S. wide lens for shooting video.  O.I.S. really combats the shakes and helps eliminate rolling shutter.  Being a zoom is a plus, or should I say variable prime.  I wanted that on my Canon but never really found it.  I liked the EFS 17-55 F2.8 IS but it was large, heavy, not ruggedized or weather sealed.  My search is over.

Feels Good

What we have here is a small, lightweight, fast, ruggedized O.I.S. lens.  On the my GH2 the lens seems to belong there.  It is in diameter about the same as my Lumix 14-140 variable aperture zoom.  The weight is about the same too.  It fits nicely into my hands and the plastic zoom barrel extends when it is zoomed to 35mm with that magical F2.8 aperture.  The main barrel seems like metal.  The zoom fells very smooth.  Smooth enough to shoot during movies.  The lens seems a little big on my Olympus EM-5 but behaves wonderfully with very fast AutoFocus.  The lens's balance is very good on both cameras.

In Focus

Autofocus is fast and silent on both cameras.  The manual focus ring feels like metal and is very responsive in manual mode.  It takes some turning to change focus so I feel rack focusing while be easy.  It is not fast like the cheaper lenses.  Also if you zoom in and focus the lens seems to keep the focus as you zoom out.

One Sharp Dude

What can we say, this lens is very sharp.  Sharp in the center and sharp in the corners.  There is a small amount of chromatic aberration in the corners on the wider end of the lens.  Also there is the ability to separate your subject from the background because of the fast F2.8 aperture.

One Stable Lens

With the GH2 I leave the O.I.S. on as this one of the reasons I bought the lens.  It is Panasonic's new Power O.I.S. which is very effective while hand holding the camera.  I like that Panasonic has put the O.I.S. switch on the barrel of the lens as I turn it on and off quite often.  It turn it off on the EM-5 as that camera has internal image stabilization which is quit effective.  They fight each other if both are turned on and it is easier to turn off the lens than going into the menus and turning off the camera's.

Light Clicks

There is a clicking sound from the aperture even at the full F2.8 on the GH2 when not shooting movies but it goes away when shooting.  Whew, what a relief.  On the EM-5 there very little sound from the aperture.  On my 14-140 the aperture changes while zooming and the video see variances of light as the zoom takes pace even when the lens is stopped down a aperture stop that is smaller than the smallest aperture on the telephoto side.  This is why I wanted a constant aperture lens.  If there is any change it is slight and is nothing to worry about.

It's A Keeper

I have to say it has ben worth the wait.  This lens will get a lot of use by me.  Panasonic pulled out all the stops one this one.  It is as good as we thought it might be.  What more could you ask for?  Some are saying the price is to high, but this is a “luxury” lens like the one from the other guys.  Their's is much bigger, heavier and expensive.  What we got for that expense is a lens that bring MicroFourThirds into the big leagues with it professionalism.

What I have not mentioned is that Panasonic has more magic up their sleeves.  When they showed the prototype of this lens they also showed a 35-100mm F2.8. O.I.S.  I can't wait.  That will be the ideal interview lens.  It is to introduced at Photokina this year in Germany.

Here is a video review of the lens actually on a camera shooting video on my GH2.

Frugal Thunderbolt Drives

DiskSpeedTest LaCie T2T2

Thunderbolt drive

Until recently, there have only been a few thunderbolt external hard drives and they are quite expensive. I have recently purchased the LaCie Little Big Disk 2 Terabyte disk array. These are medium priced spinning drives. The solid State ones are considerably more expensive but offer much higher Reads and Writes. I was look for a drive that was faster than my Firewire 800 solution for Final Cut Pro 7 and X editing. To install the Thunderbolt drive all you do is plug-in the Thunderbolt Cable to the Mac and the drive. Then I plug in my external monitor to the drive. I am getting good Reads and Writes with this drive. Here is the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test of it on my 2010 MacBook Pro.

DiskSpeedTest 2T4 Firewire 800 Drive

Firewire 800 drive

Compare that to a single 2 terabyte Seagate GoFlex Firewire 800 drive. As you can see the LaCie Thunderbolt is a lot faster. This means your video will play back a lot better and will drop less frames. These drives are small and can be toted around for location work. Do mind that it does have an external power supply. I have found that the drive does not go to sleep when the Mac goes to sleep and that there is some noise from the unit mainly because of the fan. If you are looking for a small moderately fast self-contained drive, the LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt drive is a good solution but not that inexpensive.  They have proven to be a work horse and reliable.

Laptop Drive Adapter

I have discovered recently that Seagate offers Thunderbolt adapter docks for it’s GoFlex line of hard drives. Many bare external SATA drives can have success docking directly as well. I have many of the full size GoFlex drives already and use them with the Firewire 800 adapter. These new adapters for thunderbolt are very frugal to use. They don't cost a lot and you can get bare drives very reasonably as well. It will save you some cash in the long run, and you’ll be able to expand by just using several drives. It you choose SSD drives for these adapters you will be able to connect them to the new MacBook Pro with built in Flash Storage. The smaller Seagate GoFlex Thunderbolt Adapter has only one Thunderbolt port so it has to be on the end of a Thunderbolt chain and is designed to be used with laptop drives.  It is buss powered so it does need a power brick. This would be great for location work where you want to carry a little as possible and don't need an external display. The full size Seagate GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt Adapter has two Thunderbolt ports for daisy chaining with a monitor and a power brick.

The video below shows a Vertex SSD Drive docked directly to the Seagate and taking full advantage of the amazing Read and Write speed of the Thunderbolt interface.  This is a very frugal idea for much greater drive speeds.

I could not resist! The Olympus E-M5 (UPDATE: SOLD)

A few weeks ago, I could not resist!  I put my hands on an Olympus OM-D (EM-5) and I loved it right away.  It left the store with me.  I have been testing it on real shoots.  We just got back from Train Mountain near Klamath Falls, OR.  This the worlds largest miniature train layout.  It is 7 1/2 gauge with over 32 miles of track on 200 acres.  The camera did a great job.  I shot both stills and movies.

Size Compare

Size of E-M5 vs GH2

When Olympus first announced the camera I was impressed but was not that excited.  I loved my Pansonic DMC-GH2.  The early reviews are raving about the picture quality so I had to go to see one to see what the fuss was all about.  I was very surprised that the camera store I visited had one, let alone three.  All the cameras had the 12-50mm kit lens.  This is review of primary using the EM-5 as a stills camera since it does not beat the GH2 as a video camera.  Olympus is going to sell a lot of them.

Stills Mode

First thing that caught my attention was the shutter sound or lack there of.  This the quietist camera that I have used since my old 35mm Leica M4 rangefinder.  I am one of those who hated the newsphotog's at Ronald Reagan's funeral because of their noisy still cameras.  Show people some respect.  When the micro 4/3rd's cameras we introduced I thought they would be quieter because of the lack of a mirror but this was not the case.  Yes, they are quieter but not by much.  With the GH2 there is a definite “clack”.  With the EM-5 there is a very muted “click, wis”.  The only other DSLR camera that came close to this sound was my old Olympus's E-1.  Canon has a silent mode that uses Live View but is not this quiet.

Train Mountain

IS with 100-300 on Train Mountain

When the first cameras hit users hands, there was a lot flack about the noise the camera makes.  When you turn on the camera makes a very quiet whir.  It does not go away unless you use Movie mode.  This whir is the sound of the 5-Axsis In-body Image Stabilization (IS).  It does not go away if you turn the IS off.  I have to say that the IS is very good and does not like in-lens IS on Panasonic lenses being used at the same time.  With manual lenses the focal length of the lens can be dialed in.  I was able to dial in 500mm for my old manual Tamron SP 500mm mirror lens and once I did this it worked like a charm.  With my other manual lenses all I have to do is dial in the focal length.  Now in stills mode all of my lenses have the benefit of IS whether automatic or non electric manual.  For some reason the IS does not work with non electric manual lenses in Movie mode.

Size of E-M5 vs E-PL1

Size of E-M5 vs E-PL1. This is small.

This camera is small but looks big.  I bought the Silver model because it looks more retro elegance.  Black cameras look more professional and that is not what I need to be stealth.  I like being stealth.  It is very light weight but feels good in the hand.  I do miss the extra hand grip the GH2 has.  The HDL-6 Battery Grip restores the big grip but I did not purchase one.

Most of the controls are right to be where they should be.  I really like the dual control wheels.  The GH2 has only one but I do like that it can be pushed to change things.  The wheels can be programed for must functions very easily from the very robust menu system.  There are three programable Function buttons on the camera.  Two on the top and one on the back.  The third is actually the Movie record button.  I have reprogrammed the buttons.  Button Fn1 is One Shot White Balance.  I have not used it a lot because the Auto White Balance is quite good.

Button Fn2 is Multi-Function.  Holding the button down and turning the rear wheel gives me the choice of 4 items, Highlight & Shadow control, White Balance, Magnify and Image Aspect.  I usually leave it on Magnify for manual focusing with manual lenses.  I also like the Highlight & Shadow control.  Pressing the button then turning the front wheel adjusts Highlights.  The rear wheel adjusts Shadow detail.

Yarding on Train Mountain

Train Mountain was busy with traffic.

I have set the Movie Record button so it switches between Manual Focus and Auto Focus.  Turning the rear wheel while holding the button selects the Auto Focus mode.  Unlike the GH2 more of settings are menu based.  The GH2's 4 way controller gets pushed easily so I had to disable it by setting the buttons to focus area selection.  This how the EM-5 is set by default.  The four way controller selects the focus area.  It can be disabled.  Also these buttons can be set for Direct Function. When they are the Right Arrow and Down Arrow can be set to a function.  Unlike my GH2, I have the Right Arrow set to Drive Mode.  The Down Arrow is set to ISO.  One nice thing Olympus did was make the four way Center Select button bring up a side menu on the screen to select most of the photographic functions.  ISO, image quality, sound, still frame rate, etc.

The Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) is very good.  I can see the whole thing just barely with my glasses and it seems a little smaller the the EVF on the GH2.  The image can be reduced a little in the menus with the data around the image.  The rear LCD is big and gorgeous with great color.  Much higher resolution than the GH2's.  It folds down and than up.  I prefer the GH2's swivel design because it is more flexible and can be turned backwards to protect the screen when not in use.  Also I prefers the GH2's method for playback.  When you push the playback button the GH2 displays in the EVF if it is selected.  The E-M5 always displays on the the LCD.  When you use the EVF you see about a one second view of the image you just shot.  If you want to see it again it's on the LCD.  Tough when outside in the sunlight.  To see the image in the EVF you can push the Viewfinder Select button after it displays on the LCD.  There are times I wish I could turn the LCD off.  To do this on the GH2 all you do is turn the LCD around towards the camera.  Please fix this Olympus.

Light Speed on Train Mountain

Light Speed on Train Mountain. Or going thru tunnel.

The M.Zuiko Digital 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 EZ kit lens was a bit of a surprise.  I did not think that I needed this lens but I do like it.  It is very small and light.  It is also weather sealed like the camera and focuses very quickly.  I like that the wide end is at 12mm.  At f3.5 it is not that slow in aperture.  The implementing of the power zoom is well done.  The images are good but this camera is screaming for a better lens.  The lens did not come with a lens shade so I ordered one from a third party one.  Come on Olympus, where is the shade?  Thank you, Panasonic.

Movie Mode

The Movie Mode is a mixed blessing.  It is 30fps only.  This does not bother me as I almost always shoot 30p.  The camera shoots a QuickTime h264 Movie like Canon instead of the AVCHD wrapper that the GH2 creates.  It is much easier to deal with on the computer for playback.  The built in image stabilizer works with electronic m4/3rds lenses.  There is a built in stereo microphone.  The image is very sharp.  Sharper than the Canon's take on a HDSLR but not quite as good as the GH2.

The biggest negatives about the movies is the 20mbs low bit rate.   On some shots there is a lot of blockiness on movement.  Mainly on up and down movement.  The old ugly friends of allising and moiré show up once and while and not to bad.

Also this camera has a very strange sound set up.  It is like the Olympus Pen series in that you have to buy an adapter just to connect to any external cable connected to a mixer or microphone.  This should not bother those of you who use an external recorder for sound.  For me it will be a B camera for video shoots.

Manual Movie mode does not allow adjustment of shutter or aperture during recording so the only way you can change exposure is with a lens that has an aperture ring.  Then you have no image stabilization.   I have used Shutter Priority so I can set the shutter to a 60th of a second.  If you don't want the exposure to change there is the option of setting one of the programmable buttons to Aperture Lock.

Feed me on Train Mountain

Feed me on Train Mountain. 14-140 @ 140mm

The HDMI only works on playback so there is no external monitoring on this camera.  The HDMI connector is non standard for a HDSLR.  It is smaller and requires a new cable.  It is really too bad Olympus does not take movie recoding seriously.  Please add more video functionality, Olympus.

Overall

Olympus has pulled out the stops when they created the E-M5.  The image quality is excellent.  The biggest complaints about the four thirds format have been conquered.  High image noise, focus speed, built quality have all been raised to it's mighty expensive brethren, the “Big Boys”, Nikon and Canon's APC cameras.  With the E-M5 other benefits are a very quiet, no mirror vibration, seeing what we get as we shoot and of course small size and weight.   We can carry a lot smaller camera bag.  We don't have to carry as much.  Combine that with some stellar lenses and we finally have a stills camera built for the 21st Century.

UPDATE:  I sold the camera as the Panasonic GH3 is better for me.  It has better video, size and grip.  I feel the the pictures are as good as the E-M5.

Photography Restrictions

PopPhoto.com is reporting that specific guidelines for amateur photographers at the London (Olympic) Games have been announced. The maximum permissible lens length is 30 cm (about 11.8 inches), and “large cameras,” tripods, and monopods won't be permitted (along with golf umbrellas, clothing emblazened with political statements, and—thank you, Olympic Police—vuvuzelas).”

A few years ago I tried going to a Seattle Mariners game with an Olympus E-3 and an old used Tamron SP 300mm f2.8 lens that I just bought on eBay.  They would not let me in with the lens saying that it was to big and too long.  They said that the professional photographers were complaining about us amateur's competing with them.  I had walked from the ferry dock so I could not put the lens in my car.  I used to take my Tamron Sp350mm mirror lens with no problems.  This was news to me.

So what did I do after getting very discussed with this?  I gave the tickets away and left.  They lost a loyal fan that day and I have not been back.  I have not watched them on TV either.  I finally realized It was not about the fans anymore.  We (the public) helped pay for that stadium but we had no rights.  A private concern had all the rights.  We were just pawns in the game, so it did not matter that I supported the team.  All “Professional” sports are about one thing, money.  With their “high priced whiners” (ball players) they can take it elsewhere for all I care.

One thing I like about the m43rd's gear is that it is small.  It is a lot more stealth than my old Canon gear.  I have never gotten permission or a permit to shoot so I was not about to start now.

I could now show up with my m43rd's outfit and probably get past the goons at the gate.  But Why?

GH2 – Wind Noise No More

Micover on GH2
GH2

Foam Windscreen on GH2

Most HDLR's have the mic on the body of the camera and most are monaural.  One of the really cool things about the GH2 is the built-in stereo mic.  I am really glad that Panasonic put the stereo microphone on the pop up flash of the GH2.  It is wonderful to have cool ambient sound with my videos.  I did the Irrigation Festival Parade with the built-in mic but no windscreen.  I just set the camera up near the parade announcers.  There was some wind noise and I started looking for a solution.  I now have a windscreen on my onboard microphone.

I was looking for something to put on the mic with the flash not popped up.  Just to cover the top of the camera.  Somewhere I had read that some one had popped the flash up to put a windscreen on it.  I put a foam windscreen from a small mic I had and it seemed to help but I wanted something better.

Micover on GH2

Micover on the GH2

So now I was looking for the perfect windscreen.  There where some foam screens for small mic's and recorders with mic's.  I wanted something like a dead cat cover I had seen on shotgun mic's.   Or as some call them, “fuzzy bunnies.”  These screens have the best wind resistance.

In my search I found a company that sells all type of windscreens – Micover.com.  Then, I had decide which one would work best with the GH2.  I ordered a screen that is designed for the Panasonic HVX 200's on-board mic: Micover Slipover-Mini for Panasonic AG-HVX200A (On-Board) [MC-HVX-ONB] It cost about $20 and was sent out to me.

After some tests, I have to say the Micover HVX On-board Slipover Series works great.  We had a fair amount of wind where I live so I could test it right away.  I have done a demo video with and with out the windscreen.